Your tour - at a glance
Day 1~2 Arrival & Kunming Tour
Arrival in Kunming, the Spring City of China. Explore Western Hill and climb up to Dragon Gate to have panoramic view of Dianchi Lake. Visit Flower & Bird Market to witness Kunming is a city of “flowers”. Take one day to see Stone Forest and minority village of Sani people.
Day 3~4 Lijiang Tour
In the Naxi kingdom, you are going to visit Yuhu Village to the Former Residence of Joseph Rock, see Baisha Mural Painting in Baisha Village, explore freely in Shuhe Ancient Town and Lijiang Old Town. Take one day to see the First Bend of Yangtze River and hike to Tiger Leaping Gorge before head to Shangri-La.
Day 5 Shangri-La Tour
In this earthly paradise Shangri-La, you’ll explore Songzanlin Monastery, Pudacuo National Park (Bita Lake and Shudu Lake), and pay a visit to local Tibetan Family.
Day 6~10 Lhasa Tour & Departure
On the holy land of Tibet, explore Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple, Barkhor Street, Norbulingka Park, Drepung Monastery, Sera Monastery and Namtso Lake.
Full Itinerary Day by Day
Day 1 Kunming Arrival
Welcome to Kunming, the Spring City of China! Upon arrival at the Kunming airport/train station, the local tour guide and driver will meet you in the arrival hall and escort you to your hotel and help you check in. (Please note: to take the afternoon itinerary, you'd better arrange flight or train landing in Kunming before 12:00.)
In this afternoon, you’ll take a visit to the famous Western Hills which is called “Sleeping Beauty Hills”, looking like a beautiful young lady lying beside Dian Lake (the largest freshwater in Yunnan and famed as the “Pearl on the Plateau”). It is a particularly pleasant experience to walk in such verdant forest mountain park with elegant sightseeing and a series of cultural relics and sites, including some old temples. You will not miss the symbolic visit to the magic Dragon Gate as it says “If you do not visit Western Hill, you haven't visited Kunming; if you do not come to Dragon Gate, you haven't been to Western Hills”, where to admire the colorful old grottoes on the wall and catch the panoramic view of the large peaceful Dianchi Lake and Kunming City. (You can visit the temples if interested. Huating Temple and Taihua Temple are included in the ticket.)
After the tour, drive back to your hotel.
Kunming Western Hill
Kunming Western Hill
Day 2 Kunming - Stone Forest & Bullet Train to Lijiang (B, L)
After breakfast, your local guide and driver will meet you at your hotel and then escort you to discover Stone Forest first for about 1.5 hours’ riding (85km)!
Kunming Stone Forest as the “Essence of World Karst Landform” has been listed as the UNESCO World Natural Heritage with the incomparable coverage of 12 square kilometers’ stone pinnacle groups. Take the sightseeing bus to visit the Greater Stone Forest Scenic Area to admire the typical concentrating cinerous stone pinnacles by walking through the maze of stone peaks and jumping high for the panorama of the forest of protruding stone peaks. Also, you will see the famous peak on many photos and even stones towering over 40 meters. Then, continue to ride the bus to explore the Lesser Stone Forest to closely look at the iconic stone “Ashima” like a young lady, listen to the touching love story of Ashima, and fill your eyes with the emerald garden-like park of wilder stone peaks surrounded by lush green plants and blossoms. Take the sightseeing bus to exit the scenic park.
After the discovering, drive back to Kunming downtown and enjoy a leisure visit to Kunming Green Lake. This pretty park with a lovely lake, old-styled pavilions, corridors, flowers, etc. is the most popular place for an authentic feeling of local Kunming people’s leisure life with citizens singing, dancing, talking, exercising, etc. During November to the next March, Black-headed Gulls from Siberian will never be late to fly there for their expecting comfortable warm winter holiday. Do not miss playing with those adorable and vigorous elfin during your relaxing roam!
After the tour, you’ll be escorted to Kunming Railway Station to take a high speed train from Kunming to Lijiang (about 3.5 hrs). After your arrival at Lijiang Railway Station, your local guide and drive will meet you there and escort you to your hotel. Have a nice sleep!
Kunming Green Lake Winter Scenery photoed by our customer Marcin
Major Stone Forest
Day 3 Lijiang (B, L)
On this day, explore in and out of Lijiang Ancient Town to explore Naxi Dongba culture showed everywhere. You have got the opportunity to know Naxi people, Naxi Dongba Houses, Dongba Writing, Naxi Ancient Music, Naxi Dance and Dongba Region.
After breakfast, your guide and driver will pick you up at your hotel. First, you’ll be transferred out of Lijiang Old Town to Yuhu Village which is located at the foot of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain. Walking into this authentic Naxi Village, you’ll see unique stone houses, Naxi ladies dressing in traditional clothes, kids playing, a tranquil Yuhu Lake…explore leisurely around the village and then go to explore the Former Residence of Joseph Rock, who was an Austrian-American Botanist came to Lijiang and stayed in Yuhu Village for 27 years and made huge research work on Naxi minority.
Later, head to Baisha Village and appreciate the ancient Baisha Mural Paintings. Houses here are arranged on a north-south axis around a central, terraced square. Visit Dabaoji Palace and Liuli Temple to view murals painted over 1000 years ago which depict subjects relating to Buddhism, Taoism and the life of the Naxi people, incorporating cultural elements of the Bai people.
After that, transfer to Dongba Culture Museum where more than 10,000 Dongba cultural relics show mysterious Dongba culture of the Naxi people. Take a gentle walk to Black Dragon Pool Park to enjoy gorgeous view and peaceful surroundings. If weather permits, get to the best spot to overlook the snow-capped Jade Dragon Snow Mountain and shoot some amazing pictures.
After that, enjoy a memorable tour to wander in Lijiang Ancient Town (Dayan Ancient Town). Established in the Ming dynasty as a commercial center, Lijiang Old Town is a well-preserved 800-year-old town for Naxi ethnic group, listed as UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997. Walk to the central area of the old town and visit Mufu Palace. A saying goes “there is Forbidden City in the North, Mu’s Residence in the South”. Mu’s Residence was called the miniature Forbidden City. Looked from a far distance, it likes a grand imperial palace and it is famous for the grandness and architectural buildings. Getting into the palace, you can know Tusi’s ruling history and appreciate Naxi people’s brilliant culture and fine arts. Then, wander through the old alleys, old bridges, featured shops and bars to Sifang Street Square, a mingling ground to enjoy lively atmosphere and unwind yourself. If time permits, join the Naxi people and tourists to dance happily in a round. (Optional Activity: Take a leisure walk up to the Lion Hill and climb up the 33-meter-tall Wanggu Tower - the landmark building of Lijiang to enjoy a panoramic view of the whole old town and overlook the magnificent Jade Dragon Snow Mountain in the distance.)
YuSuke from Japan visited Black Dragon Pool Park in 2021
Ana's Group from Belgium and Mexico visited Lijiang Old Town in 2020
Daisy from Thailand visited Former Residence of Joseph Rock in 2018
Daisy from Thailand visited Baisha Village in 2018
Day 4 Lijiang - Shangri-La (B, L)
After breakfast, your guide and driver will pick you up at your hotel. First, drive about 52 kilometers from Lijiang to view the First Bend of Yangtze River. The upper reach of the Yangtze River is Jinsha River coming down from Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau and when it arrives at Shigu Town, it is obstructed by Hailuo Mountain and forms a V-shape turn. Then it changes the direction and goes to the northeast. You’ll reach the observation deck to catch a panoramic view of the bend, an extraordinary turn nearly about 180 degrees with beautiful and marvelous views like a wonderful landscape painting unfolding before your eyes. You’ll have a look at local market and Red Army’s Long March Memorial Monument in Shigu Town.
Later, be transferred to visit the one of the deepest and most spectacular river canyon in the world - Tiger Leaping Gorge. It is also a part of UNESCO World Heritage Site called Three Parallel of Yunnan Protected Areas. This steep gorge is situated between the 5596 meters Jade Dragon Snow Mountain to the south and 5396 meters Haba Snow Mountain to the north. Measuring 17 kilometers in length, the whole gorge is divided into three parts: upper, middle and lower gorge and you’ll pay a visit to the maturest section - Upper Tiger Leaping Gorge. Walk about 1,000 stairs along the plank road from the entrance to the Tiger Leaping Rock. Take a moment to enjoy the magnificent gorge view and rolling waves.
Travel tips: 1) This gorge is suitable for most travelers with easy walk. Comfortable shoes are recommended. 2) There are also optional elevators for you to go down from the entrance to the sightseeing platform by the river (CNY 40/pp), and vice versa (CNY 60/pp).
After the hiking tour, you’ll be driven to Shangri-La. With 2 hours' driving, enjoy the enchanting natural scenery along the way. Welcome to Shangri-La (Zhongdian, altitude: 3459meters), the Garden of Eden! Upon arrival, check in your hotel and explore this earthly paradise on your own.
Daisy from Thailand visited First Bend of Yangtze River in 2018
Ana's Group from Belgium and Mexico visited Tiger Leaping Gorge in 2020
Day 5 Shangri-La (B, L)
Today is a full day to explore the earthly paradise described in the famous novel Lost Horizon by James Hilton.
After breakfast, your guide and driver will pick you up at your hotel. First, you’ll be transferred with 7 kilometers’ driving to Songzanlin Monastery (Ganden Sumtseling Gompa), reputed as the “Little Potala Palace” for it was built according to the complex of Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet. Established by the Fifth Dalai Lama in 1679, the monastery belongs to Gelug Sect of Tibetan Buddhism, and it is also the largest Buddhist monastery in Yunnan Province with around 700 monks and lamas. Walk 147 steps to get atop of the monastery and pay clockwise visit to the three main lamasery buildings where you can not only see the Buddhism treasures, but also enjoy large number of monks of all ages going about their daily routines, praying, chanting, cooking and resting. It should a nice trip to get in-depth understanding about Tibetan Buddhism. If time permits, take some quiet time to walk around the peaceful Lamuyangcuo Lake and shoot panorama view of Songzanlin Monastery with reflection in the clear water.
Then, drive about 27 kilometers to Pudacuo National Park. This 1,300-square-kilometer national park is notable as the first national park in China to meet International Union for Conservation of Nature standards.It is renowned for well-preserved primitive landscape, which is endowed with lakes, wetlands, forests, meadows, streams, brooks, rare plants and animals. Visit the spots by clockwise and throw yourselves into the lush green forest with diverse species of flora and fauna, walk along the plank road to catch the gorgeous scenery of Shudu Lake (hike 3.3 km, about 1 hour). (Note: the altitude of Pudacuo is at 3500m-4150m and you should avoid strong activities. There's no problem to hike in the park.) Walk along the wooden plank road (1 kilometer for single route, about 50 minutes for a round route) to admire the satisfying alpine meadow with seasonal blossoms and immerse into the verdant scenery of the peaceful Bita Lake (altitude: 3538 meters) which has the highest altitude among lakes in Yunnan and is praised as the “pearl of the plateau”.
Important Notice: Militang Pasture (弥里塘草场) in Pudacuo National Park is closed for tourists due to maintenance from 3th September, 2017. The administrative office of Pudacuo National Park hasn't confirmed when they will be open exactly. Shudu Lake Scenic Area (属都湖) and Bita Lake Scenic Area (碧塔海) are open for tourists. If you want to adjust today’s itinerary, please contact your travel consultant.
After the merry time in the park, pay a visit to a local Tibetan family to experience the highly-praised hospitality of Tibetan people and taste some special Tibetan snacks and butter tea. (Optional Experience: If you are interested in the Tibetan people’s daily drinks, you can follow the locals to involve in the process of making butter tea.)
Last, get back to Shangri-La to explore Dukezong Old Town. With a history over 1300 years, Dukezong Old Town is the largest and the best preserved Tibetan community in China. Climb up to the top of Guishan Hill (or Tortoise Hill) to have a panoramic view of both the endless snow-capped mountains surrounded the pure land and the large scale of the old town with countless Tibetan dwellings. Join in the tourists to turn the largest Prayer Wheel in the world in clockwise direction.
Mutia's Group from Indonesia Visiting Songzanlin Monastery with China Discovery in 2018
Songzanlin Monastery in Spring, Picture Shared by Our Guest Marchin from USA
The Panoramic View of Dukezong Old Town
Pudacuo National Park
Day 6 Flight to Lhasa from Shangri-La (B)
Today is free for you to have fun until your flight to Lhasa. Once arrival in Lhasa Airport, your tour guide will be pick you up at the airport, then escort to your hotel in Lhasa city at the comfort of your own private vehicle. During the hour long drive to your hotel in the city, enjoy the breathtaking view along the Yarlong Tsangpo River. Tibetan features can be seen along the way, including Big Buddha engravings on the hill near the road, colorful prayer flags and friendly Tibetan people. Overnight at Lhasa.
After you arrive at your hotel, the rest of the day is free for you to explore the local area and become acclimatize to this high altitude city at the top of the world.
Yarlong Tsangpo River
Day 7 Lhasa (B)
Today you will visit popular attractions in Lhasa city and suburb to explore Tibetan culture and acclimatize more to the altitudes of Lhasa. You will firstly go to visit the beautiful Norbulingka which used to be the former summer palace of Dalai Lamas in the ancient time, and now is a public park. Dotted with various kinds of precious flowers and plans, it is the genuine "Plateau Oxygen Bar". In addition to its magnificent buildings and colorful flowers, Norbulingka also features some big Tibet event activities during big festivals, like Tibetan shows in annual Shoton Festival. Next, drive several kilometers to the western outskirts of Lhasa to visit Drepung Monastery. Drepung, in Tibetan, means "prosperity". Since its establishment, Drepung Monastery has always been one of the most important Buddhist monasteries in Tibet. In its heyday, there were more than 10,000 monks lived and studied in the monastery. Throughout its history, many important and famous Tibetan leaders used to study here, especially the Dalai Lamas. So Drepung Monastery is also respectfully known as the "Mother School of Dalai Lamas". You can also enjoy a panoramic view of Lhasa from Drepung Monastery.
In the afternoon, you will be taken to another famous monastery in Lhasa - Sera Monastery. It is famous for the spectacular "Buddhism Debating". As a daily routine, the monks gather in a courtyard, and debate on the Buddhist doctrines with supplemented gestures, which is thought to be helpful to facilitates better comprehension of the Buddhist philosophy to attain higher levels of study. After enjoying the "Buddhism Debating", you will be transferred back to the city. The rest time is your own free time to rest.
The Etiquette of Visiting Monastery: 1) you shouldn't wear short and uncover shoulders; 2) taking off your sunglasses and hat before entering the chapels; 3) taking photos is usually not allowed inside the chapels.
Norbulingka Park - A Beautiful Tibetan Style Garden
Monks Debating at Sera Monastery
Monks at Drepung Monastery Entrance
Day 8 Lhasa (B)
Start today's Lhasa exploration with an exciting visit to the landmark - Potala Palace which is the home to the successive Dalai Lama as well as a great masterpiece of Tibetan architecture. The whole palace is divided into the White Palace - living quarters and office to deal with political and Buddhist affairs for Dalai Lamas, and the Red Palace where houses several stupas of previous Dalai Lamas, many historical relics and precious arts. After entering the gate of Potala Palace, you need to walk up about 30 minutes along the zigzag stone paths with white-and-red walls to the White Palace. Remember to ascend the steps slowly and take some stops for sightseeing and rest which will be helpful to reduce high altitude sickness. Then explore the palace in an orderly way from the White Palace to the Red Palace, and exit from the back side. After Potala Palace visit, go to enjoy a leisure stroll in Zongjiao Lukang Park, a lovely park with pleasant scenery built around the lake behind Potala Palace. It is a great place to experience local Tibetans' living styles as you can see local people gethering and chatting, taking exercise, walking the kora, feeding wild birds and ducks, etc. If you day is clear, you can take some great photos of the reflection of Potala Palace on the lake in the park.
Continuing your exploration, you will then get to Jokhang Temple which is considered as the spiritual center of Lhasa and the most revered religious structure of Tibet. In front of Jokhang Temple, you can see crowds of pilgrims polishing the flagstones with their prostration, which is truly a heart-touching scene you will ever see. This temple is also known as the "house of Buddha" because it keeps the precious Jowo Rinpoche, the life-sized (5 foot/1.5m) image of the Shakyamuni at the age of 12. Rise to the top floor of this temple, you can see savor the beautiful golden roof and the view of Potala Palace afar. The last site for today’s exploration is the famous Barkhor Street. It is a circular and wide street encircling the Jokhang Temple. The local people like to walk on the street for several circles usually in the late afternoon as a daily tradition of pilgrimage. The street also has many shops selling a wide variety of traditional Tibetan goods, religious items and handcrafts.
Optional Activity: If your physical strength permits, take a short climb to the viewing-deck of Chakpori Hill to take a panoramic photo of Potala Palace after you Potala Palace visit.
Tips of today: 1) taking photos is not allowed inside the palace; 2) today you will be mainly outside, please bring some water, a hat, sun cream, and sun glasses with you.
Meet with Tibet locals at Barkhor Street
Day 9 Lhasa - Namtso - Lhasa (B)
Today, you will take an exciting trip to the holy lake Namtso – Tibet’s most beautiful lake and the world’s highest saltwater lake with an altitude of 4,818 meters. The overwhelming beauty also makes it known as the Heavenly Lake and the Paradise of Photographer. It needs 5 hours to drive to Namtso Lake but you will have a good view of Mt. Nyenchen Thangla Ranges on the way.
After your arrival, take a short rest and throw yourself into the incredible landscape of Namtso Lake. It’s quite common for tourists who are awestruck at the Namtso at the first sight. With the snowy mountains in the background, the crystal-clear dazzling blue water, Namtso is stretching to the horizon. In clear days, the lake looks like a beautiful turquoise surrounded by magnificent snow-capped Tanggula Mountains, and the lakeshore is green, wide and open, dotted with yaks and sheep of local nomads. For travelers, Namtso is the ideal place for photography and sightseeing. While for Tibetans, it is a sacred and magical lake for pilgrimage. You can see some Tibetans walk the kora around the lake with prayer wheels.
Lastly, drive back to Lhasa for accommodation.
Tips of Today: 1) the altitudes of Namtso Lake region is about 5, 000 meters, so you should be fully prepared for high altitude sickness. Do remember to keep warm all the time and avoid strenuous activity; 2) it is available ride a yak in Namtso lake but remember to ask for the owners’ permission and about the price in advance; 3) if you want to spend longer time and watch sunset, you can also accommodate at Damxung County for a night, which is about 1.5 hours' driving from Namtso Lake.
Prayer Flags around the Sacred Namtso Lake
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Day 10 Lhasa Departure (B)
Today is free for you until your tour guide transfer you to the airport in time for your flight or drop you off at Lhasa train station.
Tips of today: 1) please pack your luggage carefully, especially for small things like camera charger, power adaptor, mobile phone, phone charger, wallet and towel; 2) if your flight is arranged in the afternoon, please make sure you check out the hotel before 12pm.
Travel Tips for Traveling China
Beijing Great Wall Hiking Tips
You need to pack some personal gears, such as light and comfortable walking shoes, outdoor coat
You'd better also pack sun cream, sun glasses.
Tibet Travel Tips
1. A valid passport, a valid China visa and Tibet Permits are necessary documents for traveling
2. In Tibet, we suggest you avoid strong activity; do not take shower at the first day; drink
and avoid of alcohol; better not to take oxygen if your AMS symptoms are mild. Always remember
if you have any problems or feel uncomfortable, please tell your guide immediately or contact
3. A windbreaker, a pair of durable and comfortable shoes, a down jacket (better with hat),
cream, sun block, skin cream and lip balm, sunglasses, medicine for urgent use.
Panda Volunteer in Chengdu
Chengdu Research Base of Panda Breeding is only available to see giant pandas. If you are interested in
giant panda volunteer experience, please extend to Dujiangyan Panda Base, Wolong Shenshuping
Base or Ya'an Bifengxia Panda Base instead.
High Speed Train Experience
Taking high speed train to travel around China will be unique and special experience for you.
of taking flight, you can take high speed train from Beijing to Xian/Xian to Beijing, Chengdu
Chongqing, Yichang to Shanghai/Shanghai to Yichang, etc. All are within comfortable traveling
to reach the destinations. If you are interested, please feel free to ask our travel
to arrange high speed train for you.
Practical Info about Traveling with Us
Restaurant & Food
Vegetarian food Requirement
Vegetarian food in Chinese cuisine culture is usually divided into 3 categories: the Monastery
Food, the Court Vegetarian Food and the Folk Vegetarian Food. And the main ingredients are:
taro powder, mushrooms, fresh vegetables and tofu (bean curd). It will be easier to find the
restaurants in big cities of china, such as: Beijing, Shanghai, Xian, HK, etc.
If allergic to some food
We suggest you to list any food or ingredients that you are allergic to and let our travel
know. Then your travel consultant will mark them in the guide’s itinerary, so that our guides
different cities can make some preparations and arrangements in advance.
Do our guide and driver join the meal with us?
The tour guides and driver will be at the same restaurants with you, but they will only join the
when you invite. Sometimes the drivers are shy to join as they usually eat fast and could not
English talk around the table, so the guide will be with you more often.
Will we be able to try some local foods during our visit?
Yes, you will. There will be some meals excluded in your itinerary as you like, and your private
will be delighted to give you some suggestions and take you to the local restaurants, if you
interested in local food tasting. But remember, some local snacks may not match your stomach,
ask your guided for more information before eating.
What to buy in China?
In China, there are myriads of souvenirs for visitors, and each city has its own specialty.
Some of the best buys are:
Beijing: Cloisonné; Fresh water pearls
Xi'an: Replicas of the Terra Cotta soldiers; Tangsancai (Tang Dynasty hand
Shanghai: Silk carpets
Hangzhou: Longjing Tea; Silk
Guilin: Scroll paintings; China Southern Sea Pearls
Yunnan: Mounted Butterflies; Pure tea; Dali Batik (tie-dyed fabric)
Xinjiang: Carpets; jade articles
Tibet: Thang-ka（tanka）(Sheep skin wall hangings)
How to bargain?
Bargains are not acceptable in big supermarkets and department stores. But in some night markets
shops, you can bargain for a lower price, since the vendors always ask for very high price for
certain item. You’d better ask the opinion of the guide first, and then the guide will tell you
real value and quality of the item. Please note that when the bargain is processing, the guide
be hesitate to help as it may annoy the bosses. Just try to let the guides know you will
What to do with persistent vendors?
If you do not need something from them, just do not ask for price. Some of the venders are very
and if they keep selling things to you, you can simply say “No, thanks.” (Chinese
”Bu, XieXie”). If they do not give up, you just keep silence. Silence is sometimes useful to
More Tips for free-time shopping
- 1. If you think you have no desire or interest, you do not feel embarrassed to let our
DIRECTLY (since some of our guides are enthusiastic in taking you shopping)
- 2. Better to choose the shops run by the state when buying expensive articles.
- 3. Do not shop everything in one city, because every place has its unique local products
- 4. Do not feel obligate to buy anything only because the shop attendants are very kind to
- 5. Be smart consumers. Do not spend big money on things you are not familiar with. Do ask
guarantee, contacts and certificates when purchasing big items like antiques, jade, arts
- 6. Leave plenty of time for transactions. When you see something you like - buy it.
would not find it elsewhere and you would not have time to go back.
- 7. Always verify the date of antiques before you purchase them. Antiques dated before 1795
legally be exported.
- 8. Articles made from rare wild animals are contraband and will be confiscated by customs
Private tour & Group Tour
A: Private tours
- 1. Private guide, driver and vehicle are for your exclusive use; no matter you are
or in a family or friends group. The tour is run exclusively for you without strangers.
- 2. Every itinerary can be customized to meet your specific interests/ wishes, that is, you
your favored hotels, sightseeing spots, the tour length, means of transportation, budget,
All are free of charge.
- 3. Start the tour on any date you want.
- 4. Escort you through the whole tour. All private transfers during the tour are offered,
airport/train station transfer, hotel-attractions round trip transfer.
- 5. The sightseeing during the tour could be based on your own timetable and pace. Flexible
at your short notice.
- 6. Ideal for people who need considerate care and assistance, such as elderly, the
with small children.
B: Group tours
- 1. Low Price;
- 2. Share a guide and driver;
- 3. Share a clean, safe and air-conditioned vehicle;
- 4. Good chance for you to meet and make friends from all over the world;
- 5. Tour date is fixed and unchangeable.
Call your guide, or if you can’t find your guide, call your travel consultant or our office
All the phone numbers include in our confirmation letter. Keep the letter with your during your
Note: As our Beijing office is using the different guide arranging system, so
we will not
be able to provide the Beijing guide information until the day before you arrival, but once we
it, we will email you immediately.